Radio AAHS

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Radio AAHS (sometimes misspelled as "Radio Oz") was a radio network managed by the Children's Broadcasting Corporation.

Its flagship station was WWTC/1280 in Minneapolis, which broadcast from the former First Federal Bank building at Highway 100 and Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park. At its height in 1996, Radio AAHS had 29 affiliates across the nation. Founder Christopher Dahl had purchased WWTC in 1990 and created an outlet for children's music, specifically targeted at listeners of elementary school age.[1] The musical format had songs from children's films, but also created a niche for songs recorded specifically to entertain children. The programming was driven, in large part, by listener requests, and many of the choices were little known outside that audience.

Programming[edit]

A list of the "Radio AAHS Top 20 Countdown" in the inaugural (March 1995) issue of the network's short-lived magazine, shows the eclectic mix of music. Number one was a cover of the Fine Young Cannibals song, "She Drives Me Crazy", as recorded on the album Muppet Singalong by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. The "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Theme" was #4, while two original songs by the Olsen twins, "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" (from The Lion King soundtrack), a song for children by Janet and Judy, and actor Jim Carrey's version of "Cuban Pete" rounded out the list.[2]

Network programming began with a morning show, The All-American Alarm Clock (which was introduced by the Craig Taubman song, "Good Morning" at the top of the hour from 6 to 11 ET), and continued with music throughout the day, as well as a feature of News for Kids, skits, jokes and stories. The network grew by creating original content at a regional level and then serving out the shows to the network at-large. One program, The Toy Talk Show, was produced by Pangea Corporation and hosted by the three directors of the company, John Besmehn,[3] John Schulte and Cheryl Ann Wong, during which children would call in and ask questions about toys, animation and new video games. Programs like the Toy Talk Show were a model for the network for several years, where producers would create and deliver both content and sponsorships for their airtime. With increased production costs, lackluster ratings and the juggernaut of Disney Radio attracting larger audiences and more sponsorship dollars, the shift away from original children's programming required the network to find an alternative approach to content creation.

Advertising revenue for the network came from sponsors such as Disney, Mattel and General Mills. During 1995–96, the network's magazine included a CD or tape of Radio AAHS favorites as part of the subscription. As the internet grew in popularity and children were afforded more access to it, Radio AAHS signed a content carriage agreement with NetRadio, a once rising and popular site for internet radio programming.[4] The intent was to increase ad blocks for both the traditional radio network and the internet affiliation. As part of its expansion and vision, NetRadio was eager to attract a children's audience, due to the amount of advertising dollars that are spent on that demographic.

Relationship with Disney[edit]

In 1996 Radio AAHS signed a deal with Disney to further develop the children's radio idea.[5] Disney was to sell ads and help grow Radio AAHS through its recently purchased ABC Radio in addition to helping develop Radio AAHS. "These guys started out right from the beginning to deceive us," said Fumes Dahl. For proof, Dahl cites Disney Director of Strategic Planning & Development Lynn Kesterson-Townes saying "she informed Children's that her job at Disney for the next six months was to learn all she could regarding Children's operations." [6]

In nine months of the deal with Disney sold only $23,000 in ads and recruited no new affiliates. CBC showed Radio Disney manager Scott McCarthy, who said in the document that he instructed his staff to meet only certain contractual minimums.[6]

The deal with Disney finally fell apart in a meeting on June 21, 1996, when then-ABC President David Kantor told CBC that Disney would not exercise its warrants and that it was close to starting its own kids' network. On July 30, Disney formally cancelled the contract and announced it was starting its own kids network.[6] Following that announcement Disney quickly informed Radio AAHS that it was no longer allowed to broadcast from Disney amusement parks.[6]

End of operations[edit]

Disney's launch of its own, CHR-oriented children's network, Radio Disney, spelled the demise of Radio AAHS. Children's Broadcasting Corporation was unable to compete with Disney's established brand and resources. After briefly renaming itself AAHS World Radio, the network discontinued programming in January 1998.[7] The corporation broadcast a mix of random music and paid-programming (6am-6pm CT) and Beat Radio, a dance/club music format (6pm-6am CT), until its ten company-owned stations could be sold.[8] The sale of the stations was completed in late October 1998 to Catholic Family Radio.[9]

Following the shuttering of the network, some of the Radio Aahs staff joined XM Kids, the children's channel of XM Satellite Radio, which launched in late 2001.

In 2002, Children's Broadcasting won a lawsuit against Disney for $9.5 million in damages, with the judgment becoming final in 2004.[10] The assets of Radio AAHS were rolled into Intelefilm Corp. The business changed its focus to provision of digital services and products, but soon filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The award of $12.4 million from Disney was used to pay creditors following liquidation of the insolvent company.[10]

Network of affiliates[edit]

In addition to flagship station WWTC in Minneapolis, Radio AAHS was broadcast on AM stations nationwide and on an FM station in Spokane. Many of the stations had call letters that reflected the programming for children:[11]

  • KDZZ 1520 (Albuquerque, NM)
  • KYAK 650 (Anchorage, AK)
  • WKDB 1570 (Baltimore, MD)
  • WAZS 980 (Charleston, SC)
  • WAUR 930 (Chicago, IL)
  • WAOZ 1360 (Cincinnati, OH)
  • KAHZ 1360 (Dallas/Ft. Worth TX)
  • KKYD 1340 (Denver, CO)
  • KKSO 1390 (Des Moines, IA)
  • WDOZ 1310 (Detroit, MI)
  • WCAR 1090 (Detroit, MI)
  • WEIO 1050 (Eau Claire, WI)
  • KDUK 1280 (Eugene, OR)
  • WISZ 640 (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • WLWZ 1360 (Greenville, SC)
  • WSYW 810 (Indianapolis, IN)
  • WJAX 1220 (Jacksonville, FL)
  • KCAZ 1480 (Kansas City, MO)
  • KDYS 1520 (Lafayette, LA)
  • KKDD 1400 (Las Vegas, NV)
  • KPLS 830 (Los Angeles/Orange CA)
  • WKDV 1460 (Manassas, VA)
  • WOWW 1430 (Memphis, TN)
  • WHOZ 660 (Mobile, AL)
  • WJDM 1530 and then later 1660 (Elizabeth, N.J.-New York City area)
  • WZKD 950 (Orlando, FL)
  • WPWA 1590 (Philadelphia, PA)
  • KIDR 740 (Phoenix, AZ)
  • KKDS 1060 (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • KMYZ 1570 (Tulsa, OK)
  • KAHS 850 (Ventura/Thousand Oaks CA)
  • WKDL 1050 (Washington, DC)
  • WOHZ 1600 (Wheeling, WV)
  • KAZZ 107.1 (Spokane, WA)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Radiotapes.com Airchecks of WWTC radio formats dating back to 1972 including Radio Aahs and more.